14 Oct 2011
By John Gibbs

On the right track


Telstra’s Network Construction team, which was involved in a major project over 6 years, had good reason to celebrate earlier this week.

The event was the 25th International Project Management Association (IPMA) World Congress – incorporating the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) Achievement Awards.

The reason to celebrate was Telstra’s ARTC National Train Communications System (NTCS) project for enterprise customer Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), won at the national level in the Product Development category on Tuesday night.

It was wonderful to be there to witness the project managers involved receiving such prestigious, industry recognition.

So what was involved with the ARTC NTCS project? Obviously, a whole lot of acronyms (forgive all these please), and a whole lot more.

When the Australian Rail Track Corporation decided to improve its existing system for communicating between train control and train crew it was clear the legacy system could not simply be upgraded.

With significant variations in the technology used between states, a specially designed next generation voice and data communications system was required.

The solution, a system built on Telstra’s Next G® network infrastructure, consisted of building some 76 Next G® base stations along ARTC’s 10,000 kilometre track system.

Network Construction Rigger

Photo: Network Construction Constructor Operative Gary Hodge working on Telstra’s ARTC NTCS Project, which has seen many new base stations built across regional and remote areas of Australia (including the Nullarbor)

The project also involved the development of a customised device to be mounted within the train. The in-cab equipment (ICE) designed for the National Train Communications System is the next generation for train-borne voice and data communications.

Built on design principles, hardware and protocols proven in critical life safety communications, the ICE platform consists of a digital voice and data backplane with various communications integration modules plugged in to allow voice and data switching to different communications infrastructures.

Importantly, this means regardless of the underlying technology or train control centre, the train driver has consistent, reliable communications.

My congratulations to the team for delivering a tailored product; now recognised as industry best; for a major enterprise customer.

For more information about this project see video link

Do you think we were on the right track with this one?

Header photo: (Centre) Network Construction Executive Director, John Gibbs with Telstra’s ARTC NTCS project manager, Peter Riches accepting the award


Posts: 12


  1. I would like to congratulate Telstra on this.

    Due to these upgrades I am now able to get continuous coverage while traveling along back roads near the nsw north coast railway line.

    However I have one criticism that’s not Telstra’s fault, the coverage when inside the XPT is verry poor. However that’s due to the window tint

  2. Hi Matthew,

    What is there to thank Telstra about? They are suposed to be Australia’s number one Telco yet have lost touch with their clients by their own doing. Complaints are skyrocketing because of poor staff training, poor work ethics and the whole push for sales.

    Telstra is far to big of a company and they use this to their advantage. They blame the custmour and say its their fault when in fact it is Telstra’s.

    Now i have posted on here before and recived a call from Telstra so it should be interesting to see if i get a call from someone again. Belive you me i have much to tell.

    I am a company owner, a business man and a fair dimmkum bloke but blimey if i treated my clients the way Telstra has treated me in the last few months i wouldnt have a company.

    Telstra should be govermentized again because its all about expanding and sales. They dont care about their service and will do ANYTHING to cut the cost.

    Being Australia’s Number one telco you should expect to speak to Australians that speak English and understand what you say, yet with telstra you get the operrsite. Its all about cutting costs.

    You can complain as much as you like, Telstra dosent care. They never have and i dought they ever will.

    All they are foccussed on is rolling out bigger better networks instead of fixing the under lieing problems that make telstra as poor as it is.

    Dont get me wrong the product service quaility is great but i struggle to find anything else that is anything more then pethetic

    So… After 5 TIO complaints, hours upon hours of phone calls and complaints i am interested in hearing what lies telstra has in store for me this time.

    I am a business custmour yet i seem to be treated like i am worthless. I have hours and hours of phone calls logged and countless pages of notes from staff that have promised me things they can not provide, things they have promised and have not delivered no to mention everything else.

    So Telstra, if you really care feel free to contact me and we can have a talk but i can almost bet this will go on deaf ears becuase no one at Telstra cares all they want it to cut costs and increase profit margins!

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